Skip to main content

the blame game

I think that the biggest hurdle we face is personal blame. We spend years trying to modify or eradicate feelings that are not of our making and when we inevitably fail we take full responsibility."If only I were stronger I would be able to be normal" we tell ourselves.

As a result many of us don't seek help. We don't tell our families and friends and we suffer in silence trying to use force of will against an insurmountable enemy. But gender dysphoria is far stronger and more persistent than anything we've encountered before.

We need to allow ourselves the dignity of treating our dysphoria. There is no better gift that can we give ourselves and our families because a conflicted and incapacitated individual isn't going to be able to be much of a parent or spouse. For some, treatment can mean transition but certainly not for all. This is not an all or nothing proposition and only a minority of gender dysphorics go on to GRS.

The best way to deal with gender dysphoria is to be clear headed and free of self imposed or societal taboos. If you don't remove these obstacles you won't be able to treat your condition and you will end up trying to put a bandage on a wound that requires stiches. For example, fear that a spouse will leave you because you crossdress needs to be addressed calmly and logically. How much this person loves you might also be a pertinent question to be asked here. But when we are in the throes of the blame game we don't see our side of the equation.

The other day I referenced the work of Harry Benjamin who as a result of his extensive work with gender variant people concluded that gender identity is stamped upon us at or shortly after our birth. Understanding this should help us pave the way forward to treat ourselves with respect and dignity.

I was so chock full of obstacles that I was like a clogged drain pipe. It took repeated and sustained efforts to undo them all. Part of that work involved voracious reading of all the research that was available in order to try and understand this condition. But at a certain point that also leads to an inconclusive result.

The answer lies mostly within you.


  1. Hi Joanna,
    As you say, self-acceptance is the key and “repeated and sustained efforts” are required to peel away layers of internalized moral and social judgment. The longer we have lived with denial and self-loathing, the bigger the task and the greater the freedom which will result.
    Harold Garfinkel, a social interaction theorist, has written an excellent analysis of how cisgender members of white and Eurocentric societies have set up their gender binary as the only legitimate option, seen as natural, normal and therefore morally right.
    I was born transgender. Birth is natural. So is the gender of whatever description that we are born with. Being true to our birthright is the path to wholeness.
    Thank you again for an affirming and refreshing post.
    Carole Fraser

  2. Carole you had nothing to do with the way you were born and your instincts like mine are inherent traits of that birthright. Being true to our nature has always been an uphill battle because we swim against the current of the societies we were born into. Morality in this context does not play into the equation and yet we were conditioned to think that it does. The internalized guilt of failing to measure up needs to be removed for our own well being.

    thank you for your thoughtful comment!



Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

another coming out

Recently I had lunch with one of the young estimators who occasionally works with me here in Toronto. We were chatting about work and our respective lives when she queried about my love life:

“So how is it going on that front. Meet anyone interesting lately?”

I reflected for a moment and then said:

“My situation is a little particular and if you don’t mind I can share something about myself”

She leaned in a bit and told me to please go ahead.

“I am trans” I said matter of factly.

She looked at me and smiled and said:

“Really? That’s so neat”

She is 35 years old and a lovely person which is why I knew I could confide in her. I then added that I had been reflecting on whether I would switch companies and begin working as Joanna and although she is totally open she also knows how conservative our business can be. So I told her that if I did decide to it would definitely be under a different umbrella.

Then yesterday I was coming back to my place and the lady who rents it to me, who is abo…

feeling sexy

Here are the results of a recent survey of genetic women:

“A new hairdo, walking in heels and a glowing tan are among the things that make a woman feel sexy. Freshly applied lipstick, newly-shaved legs and a little black dress also have a positive effect on the psyche”

Are you surprised? I’m not because it is exactly the same list that makes transgender women feel sexy.

For a long time the idea was pandered about that transsexualism was rooted exclusively in aberrant sexuality. But of course you cannot separate the sexuality from the individual because that forms part of their overall makeup and the fact that genetic and transsexual women overlap here surprises no one.

We should also add here that women aren't always thinking about sex and neither are transgender women.

Pre transition transsexuals would not readily admit they found these things sexy because they were afraid to be seen as perverted men in front of gatekeepers who understood nothing about their condition.

Today we kn…

the risks of downplaying dysphoria

Kati’s comment on my post called “Doubting you are trans” got me thinking about the validity of our feelings and the importance of not downplaying them.

Make no mistake: gender dysphoria is real and you are not delusional and by trying to downplay our emotional need to express ourselves we are making a mistake.

At the same time, I am very realistic about what I am doing to treat my dysphoria and understand that I was not born physically female. However, the idea that gender identity is established exclusively through birth genitalia has been pretty convincingly debunked which means that gender and its expression should be left up to the individual and not to society. But unfortunately, we live in a world where disobeying the rules leads to suffering through persecution.

Transition is one way to treat your “gender expression deprivation anxiety” (thank you Anne Vitale for that wonderful term) but it is not the sole method. However, denying that the feelings are real is a recipe for dep…